Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, February 28th 2014 7:00 am by John Fitzgerald
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard is MODERATE above and below treeline today.  Wet loose avalanches will be easily triggered in steep terrain.  It will also be possible for humans to trigger wet slabs up to 3 feet in depth today.

Travel on snow may be difficult, epsecially in the lower elevations where the snow surface is not consistently supportable.  Avoiding terrain 40 degrees and above at all elevations will be the best way to manage these avalanche hazards today.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
2 Moderate Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
2 Moderate Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
2 Moderate Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
Special Announcement

Please consider participation in this short survey at if you recreate in Turnagain Pass.  Your feedback will help assist in avalanche forecasting and avalanche education while contributing to ongoing research that benefits the backcountry community.  Participants will be entered into a prize drawing and have access to final results!

Avalanche Problem 1

Another day of above freezing temperatures will keep the likelihood for wet loose avalanches on the high end of the scale.  Terrain above 40 degrees at all elevations holds the potential for humans to easily trigger slow moving wet sluffs.  On their own, these avalanches will not have quite enough volume to bury a person.  That all changes if you are carried through trees, over cliff bands or into gullies & depressions.  Be aware of and learn how to recognize terrain traps.  Traveling in big terrain where multiple paths converge is another area where the volume of wet loose avalanches can and will increase.  Avoiding being on or in the runout of steep slopes in cirques and bowls will minimize your exposure to more dangerous (higher volume) wet loose avalanches today.

While it has been warm lately, we have not seen any wet slab activity.  A lack of water moving into deeper weak layers in the snowpack has helped to prevent these more dangerous types of avalanches from occurring.  While this has been the case, the possibility still remains for wet slab avalanches, up to 3’ in depth, to pull out in steep terrain.  Steep sunlit slopes and areas where the overall snowpack is thinner are spots to avoid today.

Avalanche Problem 2

Snow and wind has helped to build up cornices over the past month.  Warm temps and sunshine today will warrant the need to steer clear of cornices.  It is always worth staying off of these behemoths.  Knowing where the snow connects to the underlying terrain is important in being able to effectively avoid punching through or triggering a cornice onto an underlying slope.

Mountain Weather

Temperatures over the past 24 hours have dipped slightly but still remain warm.

Seattle Ridge (2,400’) at 6am: 32 F            Sunburst (3,812’) at 6am: 30 F
Seattle Ridge max 24 hr temp: 40 F             Sunburst max 24 hr temp: 39 F

Winds at Sunburst have been light mainly out of the East.  No measurable precipitation fell, though light rain was observed during the day yesterday.

Today expect an occasional light rain shower in the morning with clearing skies as the day progresses.  Temps at 1,000’ will be in the high 30s F.  Winds will be very light out of the Southeast.

The extended outlook is calling for clear skies and gradually cooling temps as we head into the weekend.  The next chance for snow looks to be in the early part of next week.

This is a general backcountry avalanche advisory issued for Turnagain Arm with Turnagain Pass as the core advisory area (this advisory does not apply to highways, railroads, or operating ski areas).

Winter snowmachine use open/closed status and riding conditions updates

Riding status is not associated with avalanche danger. An area will be open to motorized use in accordance to the Forest Management Plan when snow coverage is adequate to protect underlying vegetation. Backcountry hazards including avalanche hazard are always present regardless of the open status of motorized use areas.

(Updated: Oct 05, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: ClosedClosed
Placer River: ClosedClosed
Skookum Drainage: ClosedClosed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedClosed
Twentymile: ClosedClosed
Seward District
Carter Lake: ClosedClosed
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed
Primrose Trail: ClosedClosed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed. Will be open for the 2019/20 season pending adequate snow cover.
Snug Harbor: ClosedClosed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed
Summit Lake: ClosedClosed

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The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory provided by the Chugach National Forest, in partnership with Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center.

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